It’s a rare and wonderful thing to come across a person truly born to be doing what they are doing. Their spark of natural ability and genius makes you rest easy, knowing you are in the hands of a master. Liz Finkelstein is without a doubt such a master, sovereign in the realm of personal style, eye-appeal, and graceful spaces.
With a B.A. in studio art, I’ve always had an eye for color and beauty but when it came to my own style or physical spaces I was a bit of a lost cause. Up until working with Liz, I relied almost completely on my boyfriend and my mother for any sense of fashion or décor.
When I opened 90 Monkeys, our yoga school & filming studio in downtown Boulder I knew it was time for professional assistance with decorating the space and designing a cozy lounge where students and community could gather. We wanted something organic and modern. Of course I asked Liz!
I have always believed that an upgrade of your physical space (whether that happens through decluttering, renovating or redesigning) can up your game, calm your mind, and help you become more creative and inspired. But I won’t lie, I was nervous that we’d go over the budget, and it was a rental space, not something we owned. Part of me felt like having the lounge professionally designed was too extravagant and too much of a financial risk. However, I’m glad I trusted my belief in the power of space overhaul vs. fear because two awesome things happened when I took the plunge:
1. Liz was totally supportive, understanding and sensitive to my comfort level. She managed to scout the perfect flooring and pieces that looked much more elegant and costly than they actually were. And she was great at advising me to stick to our budget even when I wanted to choose the more spendy options (I have a tendency to want only the best!) but she also knew exactly when it would be ideal to splurge on the more expensive items because they would deliver the right outcome in the long run.
2. Best part: As soon as I took the leap of faith that this was the right thing to do for our school and community, our website started getting more hits, there was a noticeable increase in enrollment for our online courses, and an upcoming workshop filled so quickly that we had to add a second workshop to accommodate the wait list. And this was before anyone had even seen the lounge!
Within the first 2 hours of surveying and measuring the space, Liz had already designed the entire lounge via a Pinterest board for me to review full of fabulous items and dripping with fun, artistic creativity. She worked like lightening with a contagious enthusiasm, impeccable standards for excellence, and attention to detail. As we refined the process of assessing the space, I’d see a blank canvas with no clue how to paint it, but Liz would see Technicolor and know exactly what to do to fill the space. And when she’d have an idea to solve a problem, it would spark my creativity, only to egg her on further to some new and other genius idea! Before you knew it, magic was brewing at 90 Monkeys.
Through her strong ties to local businesses and connections with vendors in Boulder, we gained access to fantastic deals, charming items we never otherwise would have found, and great service professionals who helped with some light construction, hanging art, and more.
We also had a deadline – a month-long yoga teacher training with 35 international yoga students and mentors coming in about 25 days. Liz cracked the whip to get the lounge completed on time, staying on top of online purchases, connecting with vendors, and stopping by to receive the shipments….orchids & vintage picture frames in tow. Everything came together and voila! The space was utterly transformed into a bustling yoga lounge and we could not be happier.
Perhaps the sweetest thing of all is that every time I sit in the lounge with students and friends, I can feel the love and care that has been put into the space and I have a deep confidence that designing this environment with Liz at the helm was the definitely the right thing to do!
Liz is the consummate professional and one of my favorite things about Liz is that she values time as much as I do. She efficiently worked her way through my belongings, including bags, jewelry, coats, etc. Within the same day she sent me links to get started shopping on line. We spent one hour shopping together in great local stores and we got so much accomplished. I used to spend weeks trying to find all those pieces and bringing things home and then returning them. It was so worth the money to have Liz guide me through all the crap to find things that fit, looked fabulous and worked together with other items, and were in my budget. To save the best for last, once this initial shopping was completed, Liz came back to my closet and put all these outfits together for me, head to toe, on a typed up list that I keep in my closet and look at. Genius! Getting dressed for dummies.
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